Although most people are not aware, Maine still struggles with high rates of substance abuse and addiction - at much the same rates as the rest of the United States. This is despite the fact that it is off the path of the known drug trafficking routes of the country.
In particular, Portland and its Cumberland County report some substantial drug related problems. This issue is so serious that the region has now been included into the larger New England HIDTA - or High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.
For several years, most of the addiction related problems in the state have been linked to marijuana and diverted pharmaceutical or prescription medications. Cocaine has also been showing up, albeit in relatively lower quantities. It is mostly brought into Maine by tractor-trailers and passenger cars.
In other areas of the state, people cook powder cocaine to turn it into crack cocaine before selling it further afield. Further, heroin is increasingly becoming a common substance of abuse at rates that are similar to those witnessed among other states in New England.
The state has also arrested an increasing number of its residents for selling Xanax, methadone, Suboxone, Vicodin, Percocet, and OxyContin - among other prescription medications. Others have been arrested for growing marijuana plants. Most of these arrests have occurred in the towns of Farmington, Biddeford, Waldoboro, Newry, and Bethel.
In the same way, agents working for the DEA - the Drug Enforcement Administration - have arrested other people coming into Maine with shipments of drugs like cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine. Most of these arrests have involved people from the larger Boston area.
The Drug Abuse Warning Network - or DAWN - published a report in 2007 showing that 55 people died in York, Sagadahoc, and Cumberland counties as a result of a drug related incident. Another 8 deaths were reported as being related to a drug-induced suicide.
Almost all of these fatalities involved multiple drugs of abuse - and the greatest majority were linked to opioids and opiates like Percocet, morphine, heroin, OxyContin, and methadone.
In 2006, the state lost 32 people to a drug overdose death involving opiates. This number increased to 49 by 2007 - one of the largest increases reported in Maine for more than 10 years.
In 2006, over 2,000 people were arrested for marijuana possession. Of this number, over 4,000 were teenagers. Federal surveys have reported that more than 10,000 local residents currently abuse marijuana. Additionally, the drug is responsible for over 25 percent of the total number of admissions in addiction treatment and rehabilitation programs in Maine.
On the other hand, alcohol is responsible for the greatest percentage of people enrolled in these programs across the state - including those who abuse the drug alone or in combination with another secondary substance of abuse.
Opiates come after alcohol in terms of these admissions in rehabilitation programs. In 2008, for instance, 5,708 of the 7,272 admissions reported in Maine were linked to opioids, opiates, or heroin.
Luckily, Maine has many licensed and accredited addiction treatment and rehabilitation programs that can help you achieve a lifestyle of sobriety, abstinence, recovery, and wellness after a period of engaging in substance use and abuse.